# Choosing the Aspect Ratio

Choosing the Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio for a graph is defined as the physical length of the vertical axis divided by the physical length of the horizontal axis. The default aspect ratio in Mathematica is the reciprocal of the golden ratio, about 0.618. This is often adequate but sometimes choosing a suitable aspect ratio can be helpful in obtaining an accurate graphical perception. A modern recommendation (with historical roots going back more than 200 years) is to choose an aspect ratio that makes the average absolute orientation of the line segments composing the graphical elements be visualized close to 45°. This is sometimes called banking to 45° and is built into some statistical software. Using Mathematica, it is usually sufficient to experiment with several choices of the AspectRatio option.

Explore the choice of aspect ratio for several interesting datasets!